Tornado hits Soweto suburb
THE SOUTH African Weather Service has confirmed that the storm experienced in Soweto on Monday afternoon was, in fact, a tornado.
Videos and pictures taken by residents in Protea Glen Extension 11 reveal a mass of clouds that converge into a funnel shape coming towards the ground.
Some video footage shows parts of roofs and other debris flying into the air as the tornado makes a slow movement over the area.
There were no injuries from the extreme storm, but many houses had their roofs blown off or damaged.
Elizabeth Webster from the SA Weather Service said they were not sure if the storm was in fact a tornado at first because their radar did not pick up any key signs that a tornado was developing.
However, after looking at the video footage, it was clear the weather phenomenon was a tor- nado, although it was a very weak one, said Webster.
“It didn’t look like it touched down and reached the ground, or if it did, it wasn’t for very long.”
She said tornadoes were more common in South Africa than most people realised, but they are not as strong as the tornadoes seen in the US. They are isolated and don’t move over a long distance.
This means the damage caused by a tornado is not exten- sive because it is specific to that one place.
Webster said the conditions for a tornado could develop any time there were warnings put out that there could be a severe thunderstorm, along with more wellknown weather phenomena such as hail.
“As long as the right conditions are there in that specific spot, such as wind sheer and unstable air, a tornado could happen,” she said.
Severe thunderstorms are common at this time of year. Last year around the same time, there were strong storms that saw hailstones damaging property.
On Saturday, there was also a tornado at Vryheid in KwaZuluNatal.
Webster said one could see tornadoes in KwaZulu-Natal, but they also stay in one place and cause damage only in that specific spot.
She said the weather service might issue a severe thunderstorm alert today for a storm that could develop in Gauteng tomorrow.
DEVASTATION: This row of dwellings was buffeted by a mini tornado in Protea Glen Ext 11 on Monday afternoon.